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“The Animating Contest of Freedom”

ben-franklin

At this critical moment in American history we need what C.S. Lewis called “the clean sea breeze of the centuries” to clear our minds and to reboot our national integrity. As Americans are focused on political corruption on a massive scale, let us glance back a few centuries. In 1782, Benjamin Franklin spoke of the differences between America and the statist bureaucracies of Europe. Unlike Europe, there were few political offices in America. None of them was profitable enough to be attractive to men of greed. In fact, all politicians were expected to earn their own living in the private sector. Political office was to be chosen not for profit but for the purpose of sacrificial service.

Speaking of America, Franklin said, “Of civil offices, or employments [civil servants], there are few; no superfluous ones, as in Europe; and it is a rule established in some of the states, that no office should be so profitable as to make it desirable. The 36th Article of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, runs expressly in these words; ‘As every freeman, to preserve his independence, … ought to have some profession, calling, trade, or farm, whereby he may honestly subsist, there can be not necessity for, nor use in, establishing offices of profit; the usual effect of which are dependence and servility…faction, contention, corruption, and disorder among the people. Wherefore, whenever an office, through increase of fees or otherwise, becomes so profitable, as to occasion many to apply for it, the profits ought to be lessened by the legislature.’”

Security & Stability

Until the mid 20th century, Americans did not find their profits, pensions, or job security in government service. Where did they find their security? Americans were committed to private ownership, family centered entrepreneurship, and biblically derived principles and values as the way to true security and prosperity. They knew that the U.S. Constitution had delegated most of government to the local level. Responsible and charitable individuals, volunteer associations, and churches were the engine of our prosperity, the heart of our welfare system and the guardians of our liberties.

Read more at World History Institute

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